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    Ready, aim, fire!



    Courtesy Story

    244th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade

    Story by U.S. Army Sgt. Christopher Sofia

    JOINT BASE MCGUIRE -DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - It was brisk morning, with mostly clear skies, during the mid-November weekend for the soldiers of Headquarters and Headquarters Company 2-228th Aviation Regiment as they headed out to the rifle qualification range as part of their semi-annual training.

    Before each individual is ready to qualify with their issued M16A2 rifle, they must first “zero” or calibrate their weapon. During this time, a soldier can adjust both front and rear sights on their rifle in order to achieve the goal of placing three shots closely grouped together in a simulated single silhouette of a 300-meter target that stands just 25 meters from each firing position.

    Prior to shooting, soldiers gathered around Staff Sgt. Santaniello as he reviewed the fundamentals of good marksmanship, including maintaining a proper sight picture, controlling breathing techniques and executing proper trigger squeeze. In addition to these basic principles, he also discussed proper safety procedures in the event of a weapons malfunction. Freshly informed, shooters began firing on the range.

    Once each soldier completed zeroing with their rifle, it was time to set up new paper targets with multiple silhouettes that simulate targets at distances ranging from 50 meters to 300 meters.

    In order to qualify, each soldier fired 20 rounds in the prone supported position, ten rounds from the prone unsupported position, and 10 rounds from the kneeling position. While tactics have changed during the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the fundamentals have remained the same.

    The day’s top shooters all hit 37 out of 40 targets. The top three included Sgt. Woods, Sgt. Appler and Pfc. Freitag. Each had their own methods and tips to achieving better results on the firing range.

    According to Staff Sgt. Santaniello, firing from the knee enables the soldier to be more versatile on the battlefield because cover may not always be available.

    “If it were up to me, I’d add another position. I would add the standing position to the training because, in combat, you may not have the opportunity to utilize the prone position,” he said.

    Sgt. Woods, a former Marine, prefers not to fire from a prone supported position. He also noted that, in combat scenarios, you may not always have sandbags or other forms of support.

    Pfc. Freitag, who only has one year in the Army, recalled what his drill sergeant taught him in basic training, “If you have a wider center of gravity, to keep your feet further apart while drawing in your arms a bit closer, you’ll be a bit more steady while aiming.”

    Before the end of training, all of the soldiers safely qualified on their rifles.



    Date Taken: 11.18.2012
    Date Posted: 11.30.2012 15:28
    Story ID: 98568

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